Phase Too. Embracing the subcultures stemming from poverty and marginalization…
Art Chantry ( firstname.lastname@example.org):
No, this is not Joey Ramone. this guy is Lonny Wood. He’s also known as phase too (phase two, phase 2, P2, phase, phaze, etc. etc.) and is probably one of the most important designer/philosopher/innovators of the last half century. The only other such creative cultural innovator I can think of with as much impact on world popular culture is von Dutch. phase too is actually that influential. And yeah, he really does look like Joey in this snap.
this photo of phase too is from around 1971-74. I forget entirely where I found it (some magazine). The article was about New York graffiti and the who subway car gallery phenom. It interviewed several of the major players in that scene and (of course) they had to cover phase 2, because he was so important. Among many contributions to the genre, phase 2 invented the ‘bubble lettering’ style. Hard to imagine somebody inventing that look, but he did. I assumed it grew on a tree…
Other stylistic innovations include the use of graphic elements (like arrows) and deconstructed letter forms used almost as hieroglyphs (especially in competitive tagging). Basically, Phase created the style of graffiti as we know it. Granted, there were many many other writers (he is the very first to cite his inspirations and sources) but, it was phase that took it to the new level, the level we still maintain today. He is considered the “father of style.”
But, his culture jamming didn’t end there with the spray can. He was an early pioneer of the entire hip hop culture. He was deeply involved with the early south Bronx hip hop parties (sponsored by lady kool blue). he did the posters/flyers, dj’d, even did live graffiti performances on stage.
His early dj work and his mixing influenced so many people that he’s consider one of the first to tackle that medium. He also toured England with a crew and actually seems to have been part of the introduction of hip hop to Europe and English punk. His reach was international!
He was also a very very early b-boy. His team is often credited with the creation of ‘uprock’. In fact, in the movie ‘wild style’, the film that introduced hip hop to the wider world of American pop culture for the first time, there was character named “phade” that was based on phase 2 (played by fellow graffiti writer fab five freddy).
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